This is a pretty big question with a very simple answer. Mindfulness is simply being in the present moment by fully focusing on what you are doing and feeling right now. It sounds easy right?! The thing is, we often get carried away with multitasking, over thinking, planning ahead and we lose touch with the space and time that we are experiencing right now. Our minds are pretty good at obsessing over small things and drifting off into a maze of worry and anxiety, so mindfulness is about reigning that in and focusing on the very moment you are in right now.
“Mindfulness is simply being in the present moment by fully focusing on what you are doing and feeling right now.”
The best thing is everyone can do it! There may be different techniques that resonate with you more so give them all a try and see which works best for you.
Meditation is one technique which may take a while to master, but with time can massively reduce your stress levels and help balance your feelings. Try simply sitting or lying in a comfortable position and closing your eyes. Bring all your attention to your breath. Notice the slow rise and fall of your chest and with each exhale relax your body, clear your mind and slow everything down. The goal isn’t to empty your mind as you may think, but it is to bring your awareness inwards to how your body is feeling at the present moment. It’s normal to struggle at first and your mind will wander the important thing is to acknowledge it and slowly bring yourself back to the moment. This is the practice of mindfulness.
Observation of an everyday object is another mindfulness technique you can try. Simply take an every day item (anything you have in front of you will work) and take it in your hand. Close your eyes and make yourself familiar with the texture, the shape and the sensations of the object in your hand. Focus on every detail and notice the things that you hadn’t noticed before. Whether it be a pen, an orange or a raisin focus all your attention to the intricacies of the object and allow your mind to be consumed by the exercise. This is a god beginner activity to focus the mind on one thing, and bring your attention to the present moment that you are experiencing.
Body Scan is something you can do from absolutely anywhere. Simply close your eyes and working from the very top of your head down to the tips of your toes notice how your body feels, where you are holding tension and with each deep breath let it go. Start by releasing your forehead, closing your eyes, releasing your cheeks and your jaw, remove the tongue from the roof of the mouth and continue down to your neck, shoulders ect.
See what you See as you look out of the window. Sit by a window and notice the small things that you don’t usually notice such as the wind blowing through the trees or the birds singing a sweet harmony. The purpose of the exercise isn’t to label things or search for something, it’s simply to pay attention to absolutely everything. Try to focus on the shapes, colours, patterns and textures.
Do what you do is a weird one but highly effective. This technique is all about bringing attention to what you are doing subconsciously. For example, as you get out of bed consider which foot stands on the ground first and how does it feel, is it cold? Which hand reaches for the cereal? How does the cereal taste? Are you clenching your teeth as you read this or tapping your foot? Start asking yourself questions about the things you are doing. This is a great one if you tend to lose things a lot or have a busy schedule. By bringing your awareness to the small things you will more likely remember where you put your keys, or what you need to buy from the supermarket. This technique also doesn’t require any extra time, you are simply acknowledging what you are doing while you are doing it.
If you’d like to try a meditation technique for beginners check out the video below.